September 2023


When It Comes to Tiedowns, More Is Often Better

Imagine a pickup truck loaded with personal belongings and tooling down the expressway at 65 miles per hour. Also imagine that a single tiedown is holding a tarp that is supposed to be keeping everything inside the truck bed. The problem is that it wouldn’t take much to dislodge something from that truck, sending it flying through the air and hitting the windshield of a car following behind.

Many of us have experienced situations like this. When such a situation arises, the best we can do is hope and pray we make it to our exit without being struck by flying cargo. The crazy thing is that this sort of thing is completely avoidable. Just use more tiedowns, Einstein. This is one instance in which more is better.

They Aren’t Just for Looks

I have seen unsecured loads on pickups and trailers enough to have to wonder what people are thinking before they hit the road. Do they think that tiedowns are just for looks? It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that about some of the drivers I have encountered.

Obviously, tiedowns play a vital role in both cargo and road safety. Tiedowns are designed to keep cargo secure during transport. That is their job. That’s why you’re supposed to run them over the top of a load and secure them. More importantly, that is why most loads call for more than one tiedown.

Overkill on Tiedown Straps Is Okay

My preferred tiedown is a cam strap or ratchet strap. I find cam straps easier to use, especially those made by Rollercam. But my brand preferences aside, cam and ratchet straps are strong, lightweight, flexible, and extremely easy to use. A grade school student could properly deploy cam straps with just a few minutes of instruction.

The thing about using cam and ratchet straps is that overkill is okay. If you did the math, calculations might reveal you could get away with just two straps on your load. But who does the math? Instead, just use four straps. Doubling might be overkill, but so what? It is okay. Your load isn’t going anywhere.

Using multiple straps makes a lot of sense for multiple reasons:

  • Loads Shift – Loads have a tendency to shift as you’re driving down the road. Every time you accelerate, brake, or turn a corner, whatever you are hauling in your pickup bed or trailer can move. Multiple straps are better able to limit that movement.
  • Load Distribution – The amount of force a cam strap has to hold in place is known as the load. The fewer straps you use, the greater the load each one has to carry. Use more straps and you distribute the load across more area. This makes for a more secure load all the way around.
  • Working Load Limits – Cam straps have working load limits (WLLs), which is to say a limit to the amount of force they can withstand. Something as common as hard braking can produce enough force to exceed a strap’s limit. If that happens, the strap can break. But using multiple straps reduces that risk.

I have seen a lot of strange situations involving people and the cargo they transport on their cars and in their pickup trucks. It seems to me that a fair number of them do not think things through. They just load and go.

The judicious use of a few cam straps would make a lot of their journeys safer. And in fact, more is better when it comes to tiedowns. More tiedowns equals a more secure load and a safer day for everyone involved.

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The Art of Negotiation – Getting the Best Deal on Your New Home

Few things bring out novice negotiators like purchasing a home. But approaching negotiations strategically can help you get the best possible deal. It makes sense then to learn how to harness these tactics to negotiate like a pro.

Know Your Budget Limit

Successful home negotiations start with understanding your budget and limits. This is according to the experts at Mortgage Maestro, based out of Denver, Colorado. This requires being pre-approved for a home loan from a lender. Preapproval letters state the maximum mortgage amount you qualify for along with estimated rates and monthly payments. Have your lender run the numbers at both your ideal payment and maximum affordability to establish guardrails before negotiating.

Understand the Market

Working with an experienced local real estate agent is invaluable when negotiating home purchases. They know recent neighborhood sales and listings, prevailing prices per square foot, typical concessions and other market nuances. If homes are sitting unsold for months, you have more leverage to negotiate. When supply is tight, you may need to compromise or risk losing out.

Price it Right

Overpricing is one of the biggest mistakes sellers make that keeps homes lingering on the market. Review comparable recent sales with your agent to determine fair market value pricing for any home you make an offer on. If the seller is overly ambitious with their list price, your agent can pull data to demonstrate where pricing aligns with demand. This evidence bolsters negotiating power.

Lead with Your Best Offer

In competitive markets, underbidding then gradually increasing offers can backfire and offend sellers. Instead, put your best foot forward with an initial offer at the top limit of your budget. Offer under list price but closer to fair market value. Include favorable terms like a large earnest money deposit and short feasibility study period. Show the seller this isn’t a lowball and you are serious.

Be a Problem Solver

Savvy negotiators look for ways to craft win-win solutions versus battling back-and-forth over a price. If the seller won’t come down enough, perhaps they can pay for a home warranty, closing costs or other concessions. Get creative proposing terms that provide value without compromising your must-haves or budget. Demonstrate flexibility on negotiable items too.

Don’t Take it Personally

Remember negotiations are just business transactions. View the seller as a potential partner, not an adversary you must defeat. Never get emotional or attached to a particular property or you lose objectivity. Maintain a friendly, calm demeanor and keep the bigger picture in focus throughout talks. Letting ego get involved destroys deals.

Trust Your Instincts

Occasionally negotiations hit an impasse over relatively small differences. If something feels off about the deal or you have cold feet, listen to your gut. Don’t get so invested in any one home that you ignore red flags. Be ready to walk away gracefully if reasonable compromises can’t be reached or your budget ceilings get exceeded. Other great options do exist.

Close on a Positive Note

Even deals that take hard work negotiating have win-win potential. Once you come to acceptable terms, close the transaction on a cooperative note. Thank the seller for working with you and convey excitement about the home. This smooths the way for finalizing all details efficiently. Discuss plans to keep in touch and help with their transition. With good faith, everyone can feel good about the deal.

To conclude, approach home negotiations as level-headed business propositions and you gain an advantage. Wield these tactics to secure your dream home at a price you feel good about.

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